In Luke 10 Jesus doesn’t just send the 72 out – he gives them a strategy to follow.
It’s the same strategy he gave the apostles when he sent them in chapter 9; it’s a strategy Jesus uses in his own ministry and which Paul and others copy. The difference is that here in chapter 10 he is gives it a name he talks about finding a ‘person of peace’
When you go into a new situation – find a person of peace, and if there isn’t one move on.
So what is a person of peace? It is someone (or even potentially a group of people) who don’t know Jesus but who welcome you and who receive you.
This person may be from any walk of life, but he or she will welcome you, listen to your message, help you with your livelihood, and allow you to stay in the home, and influence his or her family and the community for the sake of the Gospel.
A person of peace
Receives you (and thus, probably unknowingly at first, receives Jesus in you)
You intentionally invest in
Operates as a gatekeeper, opening relational doorways into their network of relationships
So, we calibrate our radar, and commit to investing ourselves where we have an opening, and work with the willing, we will be following God’s plan. Only the Holy Spirit can open a heart to hear the Gospel. When those opportunities arise, we are to be His witness, to tell our story of God’s movement in our lives
Ultimately mission isn’t about learning to push ropes or heard cats; it is about finding where God is working and joining in.
It is about finding those who are willing and investing in them.
It’s about relationships.
So who are you called to love intentionally?
Unsure who the people of peace are around you? Pray and ask God to show you the harvest?
Pray and ask God who you are called to love intentionally?
Who is your heart best shaped to reach for Jesus? Who around you is responding positively?
Coupled to finding a person of peace, Jesus moves on to talk about food and hospitality. Hospitality was an important part of the culture of the time – being welcomed and eating what was set before you. For the disciples it was linked to faith in God’s provision and dedication to the gospel – but it was part of how society functioned. As Jesus recognised, it wouldn’t always go well and there would be rejection – but hospitality was a key part of sharing the good news of the gospel.
Our culture is different – someone visits Poynton we don’t expect to feed them.
But when we are with people, when we are building relationships, hospitality remains important. Hospitality that’s as likely to be seen in Starbucks as it is in cooking.
Nevertheless – mission is about hospitality. Both receiving and giving. Because mission is about nurturing relationships. Hanging out with people and loving them.
Mission is about making space for others and sharing with them. Community, conversations, circles of friendship
Hospitality becomes important because it is a way we develop missional practices; it’s how we do the life of discipleship. Ultimately, it’s not just about coffee and cake; food and fun. It’s about having a life and sharing it with others.
Investing in relationships and building community where we do life with other people.
It isn’t a technique for explaining the gospel, but how people see Christians life and start to want the life they see. Investing in the people and community around us – knowing that God is there and at work; we seek to join in and be part of the community.
We are called to have a life and to invite others into it.
And for me this is a challenge and something which needs to change.
I need to have a life and invite others into it.
For me – I’m the sort of person who fills my life with activity. I work, from the moment I get up in the morning till when I go to sleep my mind is focused on stuff connected to being a minister.
I fill my time to the tipping point where I would burn out if I did much more.
– Sure I watch TV and things ~ but I rarely switch off, I still check emails / facebook etc whilst doing that.
My life is full, I do productive things etc etc etc – but I don’t do life in a way which makes it possible to invite others into it.
Some of that is personality driven – I’m an introvert: I like to recharge alone.
But some of it is about choices, values and actions.
I invest time in trying to make the church run, in preaching, leadership team and so on. I respond to people but my primary investments are in the organisational, programme things of church life.
But what if I invested my life in building relationships with people who are not yet Christians?
What if I invested in hanging out?
Bottom line – if I’m serious about mission I need to change my life
If you are serious about mission – perhaps you do too.